IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

On Perceptions of Fairness: The Role of Valuations, Outside Options, and Information in Ultimatum Bargaining Games

  • Pamela Schmitt


This study examines fairness perceptions in ultimatum bargaining games with asymmetric payoffs, outside options, and different information states. Fairness perceptions were dependent on treatment conditions. Specifically, when proposers had higher chip values, dollar offers were lower than when responders had higher chip values. When responders had an outside option, offers were higher and were rejected less often than when proposers had an outside option. However, a given offer was rejected more often when responders had an outside option. Therefore, similar to the first mover advantage, the “advantaged†or “entitled†player received a higher monetary payoff than they would otherwise. When there was complete information about payoff amounts (payoff conversion rates and outside options), rejections occurred more often, and given offer amounts were rejected more often than when there was incomplete information. When there was incomplete information, offers were higher in the initial rounds than in the final rounds. These results suggest that proposers made offers strategically, making offers that would not be rejected, rather than out of a concern for fairness. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 49-73

in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:7:y:2004:i:1:p:49-73
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Croson, Rachel & Boles, Terry & Murnighan, J. Keith, 2003. "Cheap talk in bargaining experiments: lying and threats in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 143-159, June.
  2. Rapoport, Amnon & Sundali, James A. & Seale, Darryl A., 1996. "Ultimatums in two-person bargaining with one-sided uncertainty: Demand games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 173-196, August.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Alvin E Roth & J K Murnighan, 1997. "The rule of information in bargaining: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1631, David K. Levine.
  5. Kagel, John H. & Kim, Chung & Moser, Donald, 1996. "Fairness in Ultimatum Games with Asymmetric Information and Asymmetric Payoffs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 100-110, March.
  6. Abbink, Klaus & Bolton, Gary E. & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Tang, Fang-Fang, 2001. "Adaptive Learning versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, October.
  7. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Ockenfels, Peter, 1996. "Two-Level Ultimatum Bargaining with Incomplete Information: An Experimental Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 593-604, May.
  8. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
  9. Camerer, Colin & Loewenstein, George & Weber, Martin, 1989. "The Curse of Knowledge in Economic Settings: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1232-54, October.
  10. Binmore, Ken & Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1989. "An Outside Option Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 753-70, November.
  11. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
  12. Straub, Paul G. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 1995. "An experimental investigation of ultimatum games: information, fairness, expectations, and lowest acceptable offers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 345-364, August.
  13. Rapoport, Amnon & Sundali, James A, 1996. "Ultimatums in Two-Person Bargaining with One-Sided Uncertainty: Offer Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 475-94.
  14. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  15. Boles, Terry L. & Croson, Rachel T. A. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 2000. "Deception and Retribution in Repeated Ultimatum Bargaining," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 235-259, November.
  16. Mitzkewitz,Michael & Nagel,Rosemarie, . "Envy,greed and anticipation in ultimatum games with incomplete information: An experimental study," Discussion Paper Serie B :181, University of Bonn, Germany.
  17. Croson, Rachel T. A., 1996. "Information in ultimatum games: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 197-212, August.
  18. John Kagel & Katherine Wolfe, 2001. "Tests of Fairness Models Based on Equity Considerations in a Three-Person Ultimatum Game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 203-219, December.
  19. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  20. Bolton Gary E. & Zwick Rami, 1995. "Anonymity versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-121, July.
  21. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  22. G. Bolton, 2010. "A comparative model of bargaining: theory and evidence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 263, David K. Levine.
  23. Knez Marc J. & Camerer Colin F., 1995. "Outside Options and Social Comparison in Three-Player Ultimatum Game Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 65-94, July.
  24. Seale, Darryl A. & Daniel, Terry E. & Rapoport, Amnon, 2001. "The information advantage in two-person bargaining with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 177-200, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:7:y:2004:i:1:p:49-73. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.